Friday, May 29, 2009

I Take It All Back!!

Remember the other day when I was having a Mommy Breakdown Moment?? I was lamenting not wanting to give up any of my time with my girls, but also wondering about "me" time and pursuing my own dreams and goals?

Well, I had a few friends write to me after that and commiserate. Many Moms wrote me to say they knew exactly how I felt and that being a Mom was one of the toughest jobs out there. They went on to relay how as Moms, we give up so much of ourselves for our families. We sacrifice body, sleep, food, comfort. We sacrifice our wants so that our kids can have camps and sports and crafts. We give up our time for them. And we all complain about it, but truth be told, we'd all do it again.

But one friend smacked me right in the face with a sobering reminder. She said, "In the end, we have our kids such a short period of time! I hate to rub this in your face Trace, but in five years, your oldest is going to be fifteen and will be going out and having her own fun-without you." SNAP!

She's a smart lady, that friend.

My eldest will be fifteen in five years. Woah. I know intellectually I obviously KNEW that. I can count!! (well, sort of) But it had never hit me the way it did when I read her words. Last night, I once again couldn't sleep (I have issues, folks) and I lay there with tears pouring down my face thinking about my kids becoming teenagers and spending more time away from home(and me) than with us as a family. I thought about them growing up and going to University and "leaving the nest" and it felt truly bittersweet. I want them to be independent and strong and confident women. I love every minute of watching them grow and learn. (okay, maybe not "every" minute) I may complain about things, about my time, about daily life struggles, but I truly love being with them as well. They ARE my world.

And it made me realize how fast time flies. I remember watching my niece when she was two. She's seventeen now. It seems to me from age ten on, the time moves even more quickly. They go from ten to pre-teen to teen in the blink of an eye. And oh how I hope my daughters, while pursuing their own dreams and goals, still like being with their old Mom. I hope they will still share their lives with me.

As I wiped my eyes and cursed my silly melodramatics, all the while blaming fatigue, I wished I could freeze time. I wished that I could, instead of lamenting these times, stand them still and keep us all in the closeness that we share now. But that's not how life works. It would stifle all that is to come- all of the beauty and joy and experience and heartache that we all have to live in the upcoming years.

The key is to quit being sorrowful about what has been lost or sacrificed, and to concentrate on the little moments I get every day with my girls. My friend is right. She DID rub it in. And I needed it to be done to wake up to all that I have with my girls RIGHT NOW, in THIS moment.

Thanks Ally.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I thought I'd share some more lighthearted things about myself today, instead of my dark, brooding side. I bet you're ecstatic!

Picture you and I sitting on a log in a deep, dark forest. I realize this analogy is totally fictional, because I'd never even be found in a deep, dark forest but it's creative licence to prove a point. Just go with it, people. So back to the woods. We're sitting there enjoying the camping life and suddenly mosquitoes surround us. Amazingly, you are not bothered in the slightest by any of the mosquitoes. You leave the forest with nary a bite. Why, you ask? One of the delightful things about me is that if mosquitoes are anywhere within a fifty mile range, the person with me will be completely safe as the 'squitos make a beeline for my blood supply. I'm not sure what makes me so tantalizing to them, but you're welcome.

The other night, my husband decided we should sleep with the windows thrown wide open. I'm a big fan of fresh air as well so I didn't have any issue with this. However, come morning I did. I hadn't realized that our screen is a bit bent and has a wee, little space between it and the window frame. It's the perfect little opening for mosquitoes to come in and bring down their whining wrath on my poor blood-drained corpse. My husband has not one bite. I have several on my legs, several on my arms and wrists, and several on my back. Lovely. Just another great aspect about being me.

In general, I'm one of those people that has weird reactions to things, or has weird things happen to them that never happens to other people. For example, how many people do you know that can tear the ligaments in their ankle running from a cow? Seriously. Not a word of a lie. I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried. Welcome to my world.

The first time I went downhill skiing, I didn't throw myself off of the chairlift in time. Realizing my mistake, I figured I could just go around again. Um, nope. They STOPPED the chairlift and a guy came with a ladder and got me down. That was a hard one to live down when every single one of my classmates was cursing the "idiot" who got the chairlift stopped. Honestly I should never be allowed on or near skis again. I also managed to fall off of the t-bar and then couldn't swing myself and my skis out of the way in time for the next person coming up behind. I had a trail of people skiing OVER my skis and cursing me the whole while. I'm even hell on cross-country skis. I managed to break my friends wooden cross-country ski in half, going down a slight dip in the snow. Uh huh. True stories.

When I was little, I decided I'd be the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz. My Mom went out and bought green makeup at the store. We covered my face in the makeup and I put on my costume. When our guests arrived, my face was starting to bother me a little. It was a little itchy. Then, a lot itchy. I ended up in tears with my face FULL of hives. It certainly improved the effect of the scary witch costume and my howling sobs added to my horrific and screeching mystique. Imagine my delight to find out, I'm allergic to cheap makeup, even if it says hypo-allergenic.

Honestly, I could go on with so many tales like this you would call Ripley's. You name it, and it's likely happened to me. I'm the girl that failed my driver's test after passing all of the required difficult stuff like parallel park and three point turn, for turning left too soon. And only because my examiner was on her first day back after being slammed into while doing a left turn. Coincidence? I'm the girl that has a c-section and they go to check my incision and it's raised three inches and red. Why you ask? I'm suddenly allergic to adhesive tape. While I'm at it, I also learn in that frightful circumstance that I'm allergic to iodine that is brushed all across my abdomen and the itching is severe. Yes, itching on top of a c-section. The fun never ends.

Leave it to me to have a child that fractured her skull trying to get out of me. She slammed her noggin against my pelvic bones a little too often with no way out that way! Both my girls also had milk sensitivities (ie projectile vomits!) Nope, I never, ever take or have things happen the easy way. The easy way is for wimps! If there is something crappy that's going to happen, or something weird, and you are in a group with me, I go back to my original point. You're safe if you have me in your group.

There we are in the deep, dark woods. We don't realize that a psycho killer has been stalking us and has snuck up behind us. We begin to run as fast as we can. I trip on a tree branch and sprain my ankle, while also being attacked by mosquitoes and having a reaction to the flower pollen found on the forest floor. You run away unscathed while I pray one of the elements gets me before the psycho.

That's just the way I roll. Don't you feel safer now that you've got me as a friend?

You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lament Of The Stay At Home Mom # 1 Bazillion

I don't know what it is with this week, but be prepared for another Bitch and Moan blog today.

Now, I don't really like complaining about the fact that I've been a "Stay At Home Mom" for the last 9 years. One, I don't know that I even give myself that label because I've also been a "Work At Home Mom" for almost all of that time. And two, it makes it seem like I resent having stayed at home with my kids, which is totally NOT the case. (well, most days)

But sometimes, I look back and I wonder when it's going to be "my" time again. I know I'm not alone in this feeling, either. I read blogs daily and I talk to friends, and the general consensus of "Stay At Home Moms" everywhere seems to be the same. We've put ourselves on the back burner for the sake of our families.

And see, here's the rub. Would I go back in time and choose differently? Put my girls in daycare and go out there in search of the big career? No, I wouldn't. I wouldn't change a thing. Those years were difficult and often insane, many days ending in tears. (mine) But all so worth it.

But I think somewhere in my head, I told myself that once both girls were in school full time and if our financial situation could withstand it, I'd stay home and not work and focus on my dream of writing.

This was SUPPOSED to be my year. And instead, I feel sometimes (like today, well actually like this whole past year) that I'm sitting idly by and watching all of my dreams go up in smoke.

And there is no one to blame really for the fact that I have to work. I mean, I guess I could blame the government for these economic times, or big business or "The Man" but the reality is, I'm darn lucky to have a husband with a good job that pays well and has great benefits. It has permitted me to work from home.(making a pittance truth be told) But in this day and age, just having a job and not being laid off is something to be celebrated.

For that, and so much more, I truly am thankful.

Some days (like today) I just feel like the candy has been offered to me and then taken away. I thought that this year I would spend half my day writing and the other half of my day keeping my house up and preparing meals and other such general Holly Hobby crockery. I planned on pursuing goals and ambitions and dreams I have put off for that day when it would be "my turn" to reach for the stars. I've stood beside my husband and my children as they worked and played and sought out theirs, knowing my time would come.

But some days (again, like today) I feel like that's never going to happen. I realized this morning that I can't remember the last time I did something fun, for me. I fill our time with activities for my kids and events and outings that will make them happy. My husband gets to golf or go to dinner and have drinks, even if it is work related it's still going "out" in my opinion.(and I know he's going to read this and say, "I've golfed ONCE this year. Dinner is with work! It's not fun!" Well, it's still one time more than me and it's still a dinner where you aren't chaperoning and cutting someone's meat!) Honestly and sadly, I can't remember the last time I went anywhere without my kids or had a girls night out with friends. I would say my fun time is spaced months apart, when I get to travel back home and see my peeps.

I'm still trying to do some of those things on my List. I've mentioned some of them in previous posts. And I AM writing, namely the blog. For me to sit down for hours daily and write, I need quiet and no distractions. I need a clear head and time. In the evenings, with all of our activities plus making dinner as soon as I close up the daycare, I'm just too pooped to have any creative juices flowing. During nap time, I'm distracted by what I have to do, what's to come, schedules and timetables. Plus, it's only an hour and a half. Which is not enough time for me. So, instead, I have a notebook full of half written stories, just started ideas and jotted notes of plots.

And so, I wait. I do the things on my List that are attainable. I take Spanish lessons. And I put off for another year (to 16 months?) my dreams. My ambitions. My goals.

I sit here with tears flowing down my face, feeling sorry for myself and pitiful, and hang on for a little bit longer. Maybe I just need chocolate.

PMS sucks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No Good Very Bad Mood

After a sleepless night squeezed in between my five year old (who had been sleeping so hard she wet her bed-which never happens) and my furnace husband, I was very tired this morning and knew it was going to be at least a "three coffee day." I also knew I was not going to be in my shiny, happy place today. (not that in general, as a person I HAVE a shiny, happy place. I'm just not really a perky type.)

The day just seemed to get progressively worse and more annoying with each passing moment.

It culminated in my girls coming home from school in their own no good, very bad moods. And, being the lovely girls that they are, they of course spewed their venom MY way.

Then my husband came home from work. You guessed it! No good, very bad mood.

Dinner was an almost silent, non-existent slice of time I can never get back.

And now, it's almost bedtime. I'm waiting with baited breath for that moment when I can sip my tea, read my book and zone out.

And hope for sleep, because two nights of no sleep are going to go from a "bad mood" to "going postal."

And NOBODY wants to see that. Maybe I'll switch in wine for tea, too. Just to be safe. You know, medicinal purposes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Mrs. GreenThumb

So, the weekend buzzed by in a blur!

Saturday was my eldest daughters first soccer practice. Another Mom took her, and I in turn took her two daughters. Kind of a trade off. Her two daughters are 6 and 4, so it works well for them both to play with my youngest, who is 5. They played for awhile and then I invited the Mom and other daughter and son (yes, they have four kids) in for a bit for a snack and drink.

Sunday, she asked if the girls could come over there and stay for lunch and spend the day. WOOHOO. Not that I want to get rid of my girls, but my husband and I wanted to get a lot of gardening done and this way, the girls wouldn't be bored stiff all day long. They had a great time at their friends house having lunch, snacks, playing. Much better than weeding!

My husband and I got a lot done though! I was able to weed my whole front gardens and plant some impatiens and gladiolas. I transplanted a begonia hanging basket I had into a standing free pot for my front step area. I did the weeding of my raised rock garden areas and then planted my marigolds in various shades and some seeds my daughter had lying around and insisted I plant. They are kind of old and like I said, were lying around, but I did it anyways. Doesn't hurt to try! I also cut out a circle around one tree and planted some more impatiens and gladiolas there. While I was doing that, my husband was cutting out a garden for us, and transplanting the sod over to another area where we needed it. He also cut the grass, tended our fire pit and watered the grass seed he had put down. I then planted a tomato plant and a pepper plant. By the end of the day, we were both filthy and tired. I was also a little sunburnt.

My husband spent an hour or two sitting by the fire with our neighbour, enjoying the evening and relaxing after working so hard. I spent my down time on the net and watching tv.

I still have three more rock gardens to weed and clean up. I also have to finish planting my garden. The rest is seeds to go in. I have broccoli, cucumbers, romaine lettuce, green beans, yellow beans, zucchini, green onions, beets, carrots. I'd like to also get two hanging baskets to grow; one of strawberries and one of herbs. I have brackets on the fence to hang those. I don't know that anything will grow in the garden, I'm not very great at this gardening business. I guess we'll just see and anything that DOES come up will be with much excitement and anticipation. There is also the animal hazard in my yard to contend with as well. Deer and their babies sauntering through is pretty standard here. Also raccoons, rabbits, birds, moles and yep, even bears.So, again, we'll see.

I have to get some edging for around these gardens and some solar lights for my walkway and one more plant for my big planter at the end of my driveway...and then we should be able to call it a day.

Well, I should anyways.

My husband has a deck to build. I'll enjoy it with a cold drink when he's done!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Estudiante de Espagnol

So, I'm annoying friends and family members with my new found obsession: Spanish 101.

I've always been a "word nerd," meaning that I have always loved languages and expanding my vocabulary. When we started reading Shakespeare in high school, I didn't have any problem understanding the English as written. In fact, I had to translate for a few friends. I'm embarrassed if I don't know a word that I read or that is spoken to me. I'll immediately look it up and make it part of my vernacular.

I started in Early French Immersion at age five. I loved it from the get go. I ended up taking French right through high school (earning my official bilingual certificate) and into university. When I started in the workforce in my chosen field, it was in a totally bilingual center. Now, what that means by Ottawa standards is that all of the OTHER staff members were Francophones by birth and could barely write or speak English. Oh, enough to get by, but not as "fluently" bilingual as I was required to be in French. Sorry, soapbox moment there. Enough to say, I had no issue using and applying my second language and did so daily with native french speakers.

When I was about ten, I'd pour over my Mom's old Spanish course books and try to pick up expressions. I taught myself to count to ten and to say "my name is" and "how are you" and stuff like that. Yes, I had weird past times as a kid. I said I was a nerd!

One of my best friends growing up was part Spanish, part German. She spoke German at home, was in Early French Immersion, spoke English fluently, and also spoke Spanish. How I envied her!!! To be so young and speak four languages already!! I'd hang out at her house and try to pick up German phrases and see if I could understand conversations. By the time she moved away, I could decipher fairly well what was being discussed. Even now, if I see written German text, I can sometimes pick out what it says.

But back to Spanish. So far, I'm loving it. Every week I drag my feet about going. Every week I feel like backing out. But I go. And by the time I leave I'm energized! I get home and read over my notes. I speak to my girls in Spanish at home to show them what I've learned. I go over my notes again and again during my week.

It's been awhile since I sat in a classroom, and you can't hide in a language class. You HAVE to speak and converse. That part makes me anxious. I've always been a bit of a keener, and hate getting the answer "wrong." What I think will happen to me if I get a wrong answer, I don't know, but it makes me extremely uncomfortable. So, that I could do without. But it's all about taking the brass ring, right? Doing something I've wanted to do and learn for a long time. So, I have to just push through that discomfort. And I am.

I don't know how far I'll take this or where these Spanish lessons will end. We are just getting started and just at the "easy" part. We haven't hit grammar and verb tenses and conjugation and all of that good stuff. So who knows. But right now, I'm an enthusiastic learning machine.

I apologize in advance for the Spanish references to come. The odd Spanish word thrown in to an otherwise incongruous blog post. The upcoming liberties I'll be taking with using what I know. And oh, I'll be taking liberties.

Just grin and sip your cervasas, por favor. Muchos gracias y buenas tardes.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

We're Havin' A Heat Wave....

Phew-it's hot today! A balmy 23 degrees Celsius. Somehow, it feels insanely more hot to me. Maybe it's because it's only one of a few really "nice" days we've had so far. Or maybe it's the fact that I'm just not acclimatised yet. Huh. Who am I fooling? "I" never get acclimatised to hot weather.

I'm a natural redhead. No, not an orange or auburn or "really, really" red haired kind of redhead. As a kid, my hair was what they call Strawberry Blonde. As I got older, and into present day, my hair is more of a copper colour. I add blonde highlights to lighten it up, but don't touch the base. But I digress. As a redhead, I also have fair (umm like ghostly white) skin and freckles. That combination together makes the sun my nemesis. Within a few moments of being outside on a hot day, I have what I call "the red face." Never fails. My cheeks look like they are blistering when I'm in the sun. They get THAT red.

Add to that, I just don't really DO WELL in the sun. I'm not a person who can sit outside all day in the sun with no sunblock and a drink in hand. A few hours in, and I'm a lobster who is also delirious and has a mild case of heatstroke. Every summer, as a kid, I got heatstroke or sunstroke or whatever the stroke is where you have to come and lie down with a cold cloth on your red, burning face and clammy, shaky, feverish skin.

So, while I like a nice, mild day with the sun shining and a nice breeze, I see Spring as the harbinger of bad news for me. If I could sit in a pool or in a lake all summer long-I'd be a happy camper. Otherwise, it's air conditioning and the indoors as much as possible for me. Give me Fall any day! All year round, in fact, would be perfect! (besides the added bonus that all who know me know that I have a serious zip-up sweater fetish!)

My kids are the exact same. They get the red face within minutes of being outside on a hot day. They get the meltdowns and the delirium. I feel badly for my husband who is a sun worshipper and could literally be out in midday sun digging and working and doing construction type activities, all day long. It doesn't bother him in the slightest. Meanwhile, the rest of his family look like a sweaty, sick wreck with any temperature over 20 degrees Celsius.

I did a Facebook quiz (as I've mentioned, they are great indicators of life decisions I should be making!) that said a temperate environment would be my best match. It suggested the perfect place for me to live would be Italy.

So, that's my argument today for my husband. Sorry, dear. Facebook and the Curse of the Ginger Kids says I need to move to Italy!

Think he'll buy it???

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Heartbreaking News

My head and heart are filled today with sadness for the family of Victoria (Tori) Stafford. She's a little 8 year old girl who was abducted in Ontario, Canada from her school in April.

They have arrested a man and woman today and charged them with murder and accessory to murder. They also now have a location to search for this poor child's body.

My heart breaks for her family. When I think of going to bed at night, or waking up, or spending any moment of any day, not knowing where my child is or what happened to her, I feel like vomiting. And the tears flow down my face. And that's just imagining. What they must be LIVING.

I don't understand these disgusting human beings that take a little child and abuse them and throw them away. What kind of creature of absolute evil and heartlessness and perversion are these individuals that live amongst us and reside in our neighbourhoods??

My whole life is centred around children. I enjoyed every single moment of being around my niece, on a very regular basis, when she was growing up. I chose my vocation because of my natural affinity with children. I delight in watching them learn and grow and experience the world around them. I like laughing with them and exploring the world through their eyes. To me, children are magical. It's like hope and change is possible through them. I wanted to be a Mother as soon as I could be. My girls lives are the primary focus of my own.

I know not everyone is as naturally attuned to children as I am, but to actively seek out children to harm??? What kind of monster........I can't even say.

I don't know how you look upon a child with anything but joy.

And it makes me feel like putting my children in a safe bubble of a world where I am constantly with them, shadowing their every movement. I put my trust in their school to keep an eye on them in my absence. Yet, more and more I question that trust.

In the video of this abduction, the little girl is seen walking right off of her school ground with this woman. WHAT? Is no one watching these children to assure they get home safely? What happened to screening who a child leaves with? Something has to change for those children who walk home. Something has to change in schools safety measures in general.

We all know we can't be there with our children every minute. We know that part of our job as parents is to teach them how to survive in the world independently. But today, and tomorrow, and next week-I will be holding my own closer to my chest and hugging them ever more tightly.

I pray for the Stafford family at this time. I pray for strength and love. I pray for justice. I am so sorry for what their every day existence from April forward has been and will be.

I pray for all children everywhere-those safe in their homes and beds, and those living lives and moments we can't fathom.

Hug your children tonight. And be Thankful you are so blessed.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Long Weekend=Short, Even More Packed Week

For those of you who aren't Canadian, I didn't blog yesterday because I was on HOLIDAYS!!! It was Victoria Day here, which is a long weekend (hence Monday off) for us Canucks. I say holiday, but, not so much really. While I had a bunch of exciting yard work plans, it turns out Mother Nature didn't agree with me. That whole ideology that you don't "plant" until after the long weekend in May because surely there will be one more frost? Dead on. It was a chilly, rainy, even SNOW FLURRY weekend here, except for Monday. Thank goodness. We spent yesterday sitting around outside with our neighbours and having a backyard fire.

So, that leads to a four day week. Why oh why is it that when you gleefully anticipate a shortened work week, it gets even more crammed with crap you don't really need or want to do?

My daughters are both playing soccer this summer. Their first games are the first week in June. However, the practices start this week. I really didn't think this whole soccer thing out, apparently. I should have realized that at worst, my daughters teams would have practices on the same night, at different places in town, at the same time. At best, they would be on different nights, which would just mean ONE MORE NIGHT of planned activities to run to after a work day.

My eldest is sponsored by a gardening center and her uniform is a lovely dark green! (my fav) She had her first practice already. She'll be having games Wednesday or Thursday nights. She'll have practice every Saturday morning. So, two days a week there. One weeknight.

My youngest hasn't met with her team yet or had practice. She starts Monday. She'll have practice and games Monday nights. Add another night to our week.

For those of you not jotting down my personal itinerary even though I've blogged about it (ie bitched and moaned) let me reiterate here what my week is going to look like for the summer. Just so you can truly absorb the chaos that is my life:

Monday-Youngest daughter practice/game
Tuesday-Fun and Fitness class for kids, gym for me
Wednesday-soccer game for eldest daughter
Thursday-Spanish class for me, potentially soccer game for eldest daughter
Friday-swimming lessons
Saturday-soccer practice in the a.m. for eldest daughter, cooking and fitness class in the afternoon for kids, gym for me.
Sunday-clean, chores, groceries, collapse in children's activity coma.

After reviewing this mayhem, we may drop the Tuesday night class for the kids and let them just have a night to chill out and do fun at home activities; like homework and stuff. Sleep. Bathe.

So, though we had Monday to laze around, it was just a brief teaser. Today, the hectic schedule started.


(have I mentioned my kids owe me big time???)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Happy Long Weekend

I am counting down the hours, minutes, seconds until the long weekend officially starts!

It's not like I have huge plans and exciting things happening either. I just need a break! I've been sick for over a week now and I need some down time!

In lieu of that, like many Canadians, I'm planning on working on the outside of my home. I hope to get hanging flower baskets up, plant other flowers in my flowerbeds, dig out my garden, clean up my other flowerbeds and get new stones to frame them, get new solar walkway lights, heck, maybe even build a deck. Hmm. Nothing "big."

After all of that work in the sun, I'm looking forward to a few nice barbecues outside with neighbours and friends. Since I'm taking medicine like nobody's business, I can't indulge in a drink or two, but I can already feel the iced tea calling my name. I'm picturing summer foods like salads and steaks and grilled shrimp, eating el fresco.

I've been looking forward to this weekend all week. And whether I accomplish any of my "tasks" on my To Do List or not, just having time to recoup, to laugh and share with friends, and spend time with my family is goal enough.

Enjoy your weekend, all. Take time to smell the roses.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

It Was A Dark And Stormy.....

It's dark, rainy and windy here today. So windy that our power has gone out.

My battery on the laptop will surely start beeping at me soon and then all connection to the world of the Internet will also be cut off.

I'm happy today is this dark and dismal though. It feels like a day to curl up and rest. That's something I haven't been able to do really for a week now, so I'll take it!

I have Leccion numero dos in Spanish tonight as well. And then, I'll be battening down the hatches for the two hour season finale of Gray's Anatomy. Well, if I have power....and by all that is sacred I BETTER have power by then!!!!

For now, enjoy the day. Seize each moment. Whether dark and cloudy or sunny and clear.

I am.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What's Love Got To Do With It?

How do you define "love?" What does "love" mean to you? What makes us "love" another person?

Now, obviously, I think our love for our children is something completely and entirely different. I think we love them wholly, for who they are and what they are, and the fact that we were the ones to carry them and guide them and watch them grow. It just is what it is.

But, what makes us "love" another person? Truly, love. For the long haul?

I look at cases like the recent Rihanna/Chris Brown news and just wonder-how the heck can she say she "loves" him? It makes me wonder what she justifies in her mind she "loves" ABOUT him?

It's like any abusive situation though, right? The woman (let's say woman just to make it simple. I know there are abused men out there as well) is asked over and over why she stays in an abusive situation. Her answer? "I love him" usually followed by reasons why he is lovable when he isn't being a wife beating, total loser, schmuck of a human being.

It makes me shake my head with confusion. If we fall in love with someone based on their qualities that we respect and admire, sprinkled in with some good old fashioned chemistry and hormones, then what does that abused woman still see in him that is respectable and admirable?

I grew up with the whole "he's artistic and romantic when he's not drinking" theme so I'm no stranger to actually living in the chaos that makes up this kind of love dynamic. Even then I would wonder what made my Mom stay the other 95 percent of the time when he WASN'T artistic and romantic? Does that little bit of "good" really carry over THAT much and negate all the bad?

Not for this girl, it doesn't.

Now I know there is way more to discuss with these abusive kinds of situations, such as self-esteem issues and fear and co-dependency. I'm simplifying a situation that is anything but simple.

I'm more searching for what makes people say they love one another, and what it means to them long term. Would they stay if the loved one gambled their fortune away because of an addiction? Would they stay and nurse them while they slowly withered away from a life stealing disease? Would they put up with tics and tremors from a life altering one? What about a midlife crisis ripe with a myriad of behaviours ranging from teeth bleaching to infidelity?

Really, what does it mean for us to love? And what does that encompass in this life journey and all the obstacles we will or have yet to encounter? Or does our love have certain limitations? A line in the sand where we will retract our love?

I'm not being facetious here today. I'm looking for YOUR answers about what it means to love, long term. Where do YOU draw the line? How can you know, for sure? Do you think you truly love the person you are with-because or despite of their flaws? What would make you walk away? What makes you stay?

I know it's not Valentine's day and I'm about three months late for a love discussion...but I'm sick and fevered and delusional and this is what I'm pondering today.

Humour me. I look forward to reading deep insights, people!!!! Who knows...I may use this information later for a book idea. You just never know!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Is It Friday Yet?

Holy moly I'm exhausted. It's only Tuesday and I feel like I'm crawling through this week. I hate that feeling because I don't think it's fair to my girls or my daycare kids. I do the bare minimum to make it through the day or my commitments and then just crash at the end.

Last night, the throat felt less sore. Hallelujah. Unfortunately, I coughed like a barking seal all night. So, no sleep once again. I managed to pass out eventually around 530am. I'm sure that will be enough to carry me through. Not.

I've decided to forgo the gym tonight for the girls and I. I'm not really up to it, for one. The other reason is, does anybody really want to hear my hacking and choking as they try to press weights? I assume not. They'd be vigilantly watching to see if I wiped down my machine or perhaps would avoid using it at all. You can never be too careful!

My Spanish class is on Thursdays. Last week I joined the class, and I guess they'd already had a lesson or two before restarting with more people joining. The problem? "I" am the only new person joining. In a class of three other people. One being a couple. It's a little awkward and embarrassing. Plus, there is NOWHERE to hide when she calls on you. She teaches and we repeat. At the end of the lesson, we go over it all and she makes us converse with each other, in front of the class, asking questions to each other and answering. I mean, I assume this is the way to learn a language, you HAVE to practice it and speak it!!! But because the class is so small and because it's been awhile since I was in that type of environment, it's just a weird, put on the spot, mind goes blank, kind of situation. I would say I learned quite a bit though. So, I guess that is the important part.

I'm just struggling to keep moving through each day this week, taking each as it comes, and doing what needs to get done. I'm leaving some errands off the list, and letting some things slide. I'm looking forward to the upcoming long weekend, more than I think I ever have before.

Four more sleeps.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Little Bit Of Catch-Up

So I have a bit of catching up to do on the 'ol blog here, for those of you chomping at the bit to know what it is I'm doing with my ever so fabulous life on a daily basis.

My Dad is still in the hospital, still on a ventilator and still sedated. They tried to take him off of the ventilator and he freaked out. I think he's worried that he won't breathe on his own. So, they'll wean him off of it I guess without him even knowing til he just realizes he's doing it all by himself! They also tried to wean him off of the sedation and he became too agitated, so they'll have to wean him off of that as well. It's one step forward, one step back for him, but hopefully brighter days are ahead. It's just amazing to me that a man that has really never been ill or in the hospital in all of his seventy-three years has now been in for months and that it has all come down to THIS. It's definitely infinitely harder on all of us because he's in North Carolina, and we are here.

I got a sore throat, suddenly, on Wednesday night last week. Just as I was going to bed, my throat suddenly felt sore and scratchy and swallowing felt painful. For Thursday and Friday it still felt that way, and I did all of my old standbys. Saline nose drops, warm water with salt gargling, tea, toast and honey. I even tried some horrific concoction I found online that involved drinking vinegar and lemon juice and salt. That burned like a mofo. By Friday night, I was seriously hurting. I decided a trip to the clinic was in order, but I wouldn't be able to get there til Sunday. So, I'd battle through. I added Benadryl day and night pills, Cloraseptic throat spray and overdosed on Sucrets and Cloraseptic like a junkie on a crack binge. Relief was not in sight. I was up most of the nights, alternating between sipping water and gargling salt. Mother's Day was the "clinic day." Well, it was supposed to be. Nothing in my small town was open. Great. My neighbour and husband looked in my now disgusting throat and said it must be strep. Oh, and eased my now fevered mind by telling me that a twenty-nine year old woman here died from undiagnosed or untreated strep. Reassuring folks, aren't they? By last night, I, a grown woman, was in tears with a throat that felt like I was swallowing shards of glass with each gulp.

So, today, finally, I headed to the clinic in town. The doctor checked me out and said it wasn't strep. What a relief! However, his diagnosis was not as pleasing to me as that last fact. He said that many, many people were coming in with what I had. He said most on day two or three when they couldn't take the pain anymore, not day five. I told him I'm stubborn. He said it's a viral thing going around that's really brutal. Starts off with the shards of glass sore throat for a few days. In the next day or two, I'll notice it has moved into my sinuses and that it'll start breaking up in my throat. What will ensue is horrific to me. He said I will start spitting up huge CHUNKS of white, thick, lumpy mucous for a few days to week. WHAT??? Dis-gus-ting. Anyone who knows me well knows that this, surely, will lead to gagging or even vomit on my part. Next, after that delightful phase, will be headaches and sinus/facial pain for another week. All in all, a little over two weeks. And all I can do to treat this? Gargle salt water. Use saline solution. Use Advil Day and Night. Rest. Ummm. Again, reassuring. Something to look forward to I'm sure. He said I seemed to be "a pretty generally healthy lady" (lady?) and was amazed that I haven't been on any kind of antibiotics in about five years. I again reiterated to him that I'm generally also stubborn.

Other than the breakdown last night, my Mother's Day was good. I was treated to breakfast in bed and a TON of craft work by my kids telling me how much they loved me and why. Really, those are the best gifts. They also got me some straightening spray and a hair straightener. (Mine is archaic. It's the 90's kind with the crimping or waving plates included? Enough said) I also got a long, six photo, picture frame filled with photos of my girls and I. It was all really, really nice. My poor husband though. He had planned a fabulous meal of salmon and tuna steaks on the barbecue, along with rice and grilled veggies. I ate about four bites of each and went to bed. And then started bawling about my throat. Niiiice.

I'm feeling mostly fatigued and just waiting for the horror to continue with this virus, knowing full well that I can't really pause this week. No rest for the wicked! I still have the daycare, I have Spanish lessons again on Thursday (more about that to come), there are classes tomorrow night, swimming on Friday. Phew.

I guess I'll rest on the seventh day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Yo Mama

This is the weekend when we all celebrate our mama's. Or Moms, Mothers, Mums, Mommy. Whatever you call her, I bet she played and still plays a pivotal role in your life, in who you are as a person, in your path forward. She doesn't have to be living to play that role either. Our Moms are likely the number one person that effects our formative years. For some of you, that's scary. For others, a blessing.

Either way, we have one day a year set aside to reflect back on our mothers and what they mean to us, and if we ourselves are moms, to be celebrated and cherished. Hopefully!

You've read my blogs about Moms, and about being a Mom. I don't think it's just a cheesy platitude to say it's the toughest job on Earth. But I'd also say the one with the most rewards and incentives. In fact, I take being a Mom veeeerrry seriously. Probably more seriously than I take anything else in my life.

I'm not just responsible to myself anymore. What I did or do yesterday, today and tomorrow will be reflected in these other individuals lives. Whoa. That's heavy. It always amazed me that I "grew" a person inside me. Now, I'm "forming" two that will go out in the world someday and shape others lives. No pressure, there.

I think being a Mom is largely a thankless job to the outside world. But not to we Mothers. Oh we may bitch and moan some days about it or have complaints that we aren't valued or taken seriously. But we all know in our hearts, that each and every time we look into those little eyes and see total love and trust there, that it's all been worth it. Every single tear stained, sleepless, cranky, poopy, vomitty minute. (and ya I made those words up. I have creative licence!)

Then, that one day a year comes where we finally get our due. Where we get to see all the cute, crafty things are kids made for us. Where we get their hugs and love and their knowledge that today is a special day for Moms. But mostly, where we get to feel that unconditional, overwhelming love directed right at us, just like when they were babies and would lie in our arms staring up at us. Sigh. I soak those moments in like I'm inhaling forever in one single look.

I don't ever take being a Mom for granted. It's the greatest gift I've ever been given, and one of the greatest joys of my life. When my kids celebrate me on Mother's day, inside, I'm also celebrating them. For without them, I'd never have learned the heartache and joy and anxiety and guilt and all consuming love that comes with being a Mom.

So, celebrate Mother's day, for you, for your Mom. Take the time to really reflect on what it means to be a Mom and how difficult some days it can also be. And extend that celebration to all of the Moms around you, yours or someone else's. For being a Mom is truly belonging to a special club that only we Moms can appreciate.

Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Spanish Lessons, ole!

The last year for me has been a tumultuous one. I've had a lot stress and heartache and decisions to make. Somewhere in there I decided that I hadn't really been living for myself and that the "time is now" to make good on some of my own goals and dreams. It's difficult to do as a Mom! I find that most of my time is divided between my kids and their commitments and my home and finances. What "I want" to do or spend money on just seems to be at the bottom of that priority list.

Well, I figured one way to deal with the stress was to start checking stuff off that life list of mine. I had some good advice too. I was told, "When you don't know what you want to do, or which way to go, don't decide. Don't go anywhere. Don't do anything. When you know, you'll do or go. In the meantime, start doing for yourself. Start living for you." Wise words of wisdom, those.

So, I've taken the bull by the horns in some ways, big and small. This seems trivial but I've put it off forever, but I finally printed out my family's passport forms. I'm mailing them this week to my guarantor to sign. We'll get pictures taken this weekend or early next week. We'll get them DONE. I'm a great procrastinator so it's challenging for me to actually make this happen. I just have to push myself to do it. Get the info together I need. Get it all together and take it in. It's an annoying process, but one I've put off for far too long.

Secondly, I started this year taking time for myself each day to work out. I was really putting a lot of time into my health. I've let that slip lately as I try to find my groove with working, but it's still a priority. As you all read previously, I know getting where I want to be physically is going to take time and I'm finished putting time limits or constraints on it. It'll happen, however fast or slow.

Tonight, I tick off another item. I start Beginner Spanish courses. It's an hour and a half every Thursday night for twelve weeks. I've always enjoyed languages. I speak both French and English fluently and I've wanted to add Spanish to that list. Then German. From there-who knows!!! But I have an interest in languages and Spanish has been on my life list for a long, long time.

There is another item on that list I hope to get started on in the next two weeks as well. I'll blog about THAT when it's all said and done. It's keeping you on the hook! Makes you want to come back for more! I bet the suspense is KILLING you, huh? I'm sure.

I've vowed to myself that 2009 is going to be a big year for me. I hoped that for 2008 and it blew up in my face, but I know that 2009 is going to be colossal for me because I'm taking control and grabbing the brass ring. It's only just begun!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Handwashing 101

So, the answer to reducing your chances of getting swine flu, brace yourselves for this astounding revelation, HAND WASHING.

Really? That's all they could come up with? Seems like a pretty lazy recommendation.

Around the globe there are now people frantically buying out store shelves of anti-bacterial hand soap and rushing to sinks everywhere. There are signs and posters going up of "How To Properly Wash Your Hands" and even my children's school sent home a newsletter spelling out how we should be taking these steps to ensure our hands are clean.

Here's my question. WHO are all of you disgusting people who didn't wash your hands normally????? BEFORE all this?? Wait. Don't answer that. I really don't think I want to know.

Ask my children, or even my neighbours and friends. They would all agree I've ALWAYS been a bit of a freak (ie germaphobe) about hand washing. My kids have it ingrained in their heads from birth practically that we wash our hands after we come inside from being, well generally, anywhere out in the world. We get off a city bus, we wash our hands. We play outside, we wash our hands. They come home from school, first thing they do is wash their hands. Before any meal, they wash their hands. Isn't this information people follow everyday in their normal routines???? The fact that it is not, for some people, scares the poop out of me. (go wash my hands!)

Now, I do think this whole cleanliness, hand washing business can go a little too far. I have other friends (and you know who you are) that are so fastidious with cleaning and keeping their homes and children spotless, that they no longer have any immunity to fight germs. I think you need to be exposed to some dirt and grime in order to build up protective antibodies. That's not science. That's just Tracey Theory. It helps my sanity when my home is less than dust free. You know, makes me feel a little less guilty. "Ahhh, I'm HELPING them."

I also think anti-bacterial hand soaps are generally awful for you, so I don't buy them. My kids skin after using them for two days was like sandpaper, as well as cracked and bleeding. And I don't think cracks are the best way to prevent the spread of viruses. Don't even get me started on the toxins they contain. So, we use good old fashioned normal (albeit natural) soap. Yesterday, I went out and bought an all natural hand soap product that contains Rosemary, Peppermint and Tea Tree. It's a natural anti-bacterial soap but can be used on face, hands, body and is great for sensitive skin and even rashes. (for Canadians interested in the company- I think she ships or will be.

But really, if that is all that can be done to avoid this Swine Flu, then I think we should be better than okay here. Our lives routinely involve frequent hand washing!

For all of you for whom this is a novelty, I hope in future that this starts a "trend" of umm hygienic practices for you. So, if you have to, go on the net and google hand washing practices. Post them on your fridge or on your mirror above your sink. Stay on top of your grimy kids hand washing (really, you never know where kids hands have been. I pretty much do so....Ya. Stay on top of that, for all of our sakes!) And do much hand washing of your own.

The world will thank you.

Friday, May 1, 2009


The name, "Tracey" means "Fighter." I'm talking about the ACTUAL name Tracey, not Teresa (which means "Harvester") from which it's derived. Nope, I mean the real deal "Tracey."

And, I've looked back on my life lately and realized that my name pretty much fits. Obviously, I haven't had to fight for necessities like food and water or shelter or basic human needs. I haven't been beaten on a regular basis and was never the victim of bullying. For all of these things I'm completely grateful and thankful.

I was a scrappy kid though. If someone was being bullied, I was usually in the middle of the fray on the side of the underdog. I don't think I lost one tooth "normally" for a few years there. Almost all of them were knocked or punched out of my head.

When my Mom married my stepfather, I became a different sort of "Fighter". And I guess that's one skill set I learned-"How to Know Your Enemy to Fight Effectively." My way of fighting for survival back then was to make sure that appearances were kept perfect. My brother (well, and Mother) bore the brunt of my stepfather's abuse, and when my brother was about eleven he started getting a few pimples. He is a sensitive and self-conscious guy, even now. Back then, with the added insult and abuse, he struggled. Every morning I would get up, lay out his clothes for him, and cover his pimples with some concealer and powder so people wouldn't notice them and his feelings wouldn't be further exploited. I couldn't physically stand up to a 300 lb man, so I would make life as normal for my brother and I as I could (my sister had moved out as soon as she could), once outside the confines of our home. I went to school on 3-4 hours sleep and tried to present the perfect picture of normalcy. I knew that my Mom wouldn't, or couldn't, stand up for us or fight for us. She was waging her own war. I knew that it would have to be me standing up for myself and for my brother.

I wouldn't say that confrontational attitude is all nurture though. I've always been the person who battles things head on, squarely. If there is a hard way to learn something or a more difficult route, that's the one I'll take. And that's not to say that is the right way or the only way. We all have our own personalities and our own ways of dealing with things. Right or wrong, it's about surviving and moving forward. I just think I came into this world a scrapper, and it's probably the way I'll go out as well.

While I am the Captain of my own Fate, I feel like I've been forced into situations throughout my lifetime that were orchestrated by the selfish needs and demands of others around me. Their agendas. I've felt like I've been standing on my own in many a tough time. When the others around me are concerned for themselves and their issues or needs, and they aren't looking out for me or others, I feel like it's my job to stand up again, for that underdog. And for myself. I guess I learned the lesson young that the only person I could trust was myself. The only person going to protect me was me. The only person I could rely on was me. The only person who was going to make good decisions for me was me. All me.

As a Mom, I've vowed to never let my children feel like that. I don't want them to feel like no one has their back and that they are standing alone. My girls know that if they need someone to fight for them, I will. If they need someone to stand up for them, I will. They won't be shadowboxing in a dark ring all by themselves. Ever. When all is said and done, I can't protect them from the world, but I can let them know that when life tries to batter you down, you always have someone in your corner.

But being a "Fighter" for a lifetime is tiring. Sometime, it'd be nice to know that someone out there is looking out not just for themselves, but for me. That someone is willing to stand up and fight for me. It's been a long haul, and I'd like to put the gloves down and just watch from the sidelines for awhile.

Let's call this match and dim the lights on the ring. This Fighter wants to retire and nurse her wounds. Someone else take up the call for awhile.

And if we go by the meaning of names and their role in our destiny, then maybe my fighting days for my girls will be sparse. My eldest daughter's name means "a vision or dream" and my youngest daughter's means "pure." Hopefully THEIR lives are reflective of the meanings behind THEIR monikers. It's partly why I chose them. I want their lives to be a little easier. A little less dramatic. A little less of a fight.

But if it's not, I'll rally. They deserve nothing less.